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Emma Raducanu US Open 2021

Annabel Croft backs ‘confident’ and ‘special’ Emma Raducanu to win US Open final

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Former British number one Annabel Croft believes ‘special’ Emma Raducanu will make history and win the US Open final against Leylah Fernandez.

The 18-year-old, who started the year ranked 345 in the world, is now one match away from becoming the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.

The Brit has been in inspired form at Flushing Meadows, beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari to reach the final in just her second ever Grand Slam.

Raducanu will now face fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez, who has beaten defending champion Naomi Osaka, number two seed Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Svitolina.

Despite the Canadian having the tougher run to the US Open final, Croft believes Raducanu will prevail comfortably in Saturday’s final.

“Raducanu to win in straight sets,” said Croft, when questioned on her final prediction.

“We are seeing someone unbelievably special at the very beginning of what may well end up being an extraordinary career.

“Emma’s return of serve is phenomenal. I have never seen one like it. She is so confident and has incredible timing when she hits the ball.

“This is the shot that has helped her win nine matches in straight sets at Flushing Meadows, and it will be a crucial weapon in the final.

“She likes to step a metre inside the baseline on second serves and hit the ball back with power and depth.

“This will put pressure on Leylah Fernandez, and it will be on her mind when she steps up to the baseline to hit her serves. We saw that in the semi-final when Maria Sakkari hit five double faults.”

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Emma Raducanu US Open 2021
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